Cafe Avole offers Ethiopian coffee, community space in Rainier Valley

Solomon Dubie, owner of Café Avole in Southeast Seattle, greets a neighbor on Friday, March 11, 2016, the day before his grand opening celebration. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Solomon Dubie, owner of Café Avole in Southeast Seattle, greets a neighbor on Friday, March 11, 2016, the day before his grand opening celebration. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

More than five years after he started crafting his first business plan, Solomon Dubie’s dream of opening an Ethiopian coffee shop in Seattle finally is coming true.

Dubie officially opened the doors of Café Avole today at 6630 Rainier Avenue South, a week after a soft opening last Sunday and exactly one year after his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign ended. “Avole,” prounounced “ah-bohl,” translates to that first strong cup of coffee.

“This is a different part of Seattle where you wouldn’t typically find a coffee shop,” Dubie said at one of the café’s tables, which he found on Craigslist and rebuilt by hand. “It’s a new trend we can create in this area.”

In addition to standard coffee and espresso fare, Café Avole will offer traditionally prepared Ethiopian coffee — “buna”, beer and wine, and food options like breakfast sandwiches and waffles.

 Solomon Dubie, owner of Café Avole in Southeast Seattle, makes a latte on Friday, March 11, 2016, the day before his grand opening celebration. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)
Solomon Dubie, owner of Café Avole in Southeast Seattle, makes a latte on Friday, March 11, 2016, the day before his grand opening celebration. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo.)

While Dubie’s ultimate goal is to build the sense of community he provided while running Rainier Mini Mart and spearheading the Holly Street Night Out in 2014, he looks forward to introducing an infusion of Ethiopian and American traditions to his customers.

“I’ve taken some of the things you would see at a normal coffee shop but I want [Café Avole] to have its own energy,” Dubie said.

He imagines people gathering and connecting at his café over the coffee he fell in love with at a young age, after watching his mother prepare buna day after day.

While the road to Café Avole hasn’t been easy, Dubie felt energized by the success of his Indiegogo campaign, which raised $5,740 last March, and inspired by the support of fellow community members.

The grand opening is just step one, Dubie said.

“I’m open. I’m here,” he said. “But there’s so much more I want to offer and add to the place.

The grand opening celebration — which will feature a traditional jebena buna ceremony, food, music, and Dubie’s family and fellow community members — will continue until 9 p.m. tonight and is open to the public.

Solomon Dubie, owner of Cafe Avole. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo)
Solomon Dubie, owner of Cafe Avole. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo)
A Café Avole coffee bag. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo)
A Café Avole coffee bag. (Photo by Jovelle Tamayo)
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